Thursday, December 20, 2018

Village Poets Year in Review and Year in Preview - From 2018 to 2019

Merry Christmas to All and Happy New Year 2019!!!

 Village Poets have no scheduled readings in December 2018. Our next gathering is on January 27, 2019, with Gabriel Meyer and Elena Karina Byrne. Details to be posted later.


Village Poets finished the monthly reading series in November, with a rich program of the Krak Poetry Group celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Poland's Regained Independence, the presentation of a new anthology "Grateful Conversations" by Westside Women Writers, and the music of March Achuff, classical guitarist. The year 2018 was very intense and full of poetic adventures, both individually, and for the entire group. Let us look back at the highlights.

Artwork by Susan Dobay

On January  28, 2018, a Hungarian American artist, Susan Dobay presented her new book about her artistic philosophy and creative path, or rather the blurbs she received about her book. Luckily for her audience, she also showed slides of her inspiring artwork, and the open reading was interesting, so poets had something to think about.

Poets with Susan Dobay in her Scenic Drive Gallery, Madame Butterfly Event.

On February 25, Deborah P. Kolodji and William Scott Galasso gathered a group of haiku poets for a wonderful reading from the Southern California Haiku Study Group's anthology that Galasso edited, and that Kolodji enriched with a history of the anthologies in the past 20 years.

Both Debbie and Maja wore cobalt blue...

On March 25, 2018, four poets from a new anthology "The Lullaby of Teeth" read their work, alongside with the poets featured in the California Quarterly vol. 44:1 edited by Maja Trochimczyk. The Quarterly is published by the California State Poetry Society and Maja invited several local poets to her issue, including Kathabela Wilson, Marlene Hitt (in the picture) as well as Pamela Shea, Alice Pero, Lois P. Jones and Susan Rogers, all regulars at the Village Poets readings. 

Poets with the California Quarterly, with artwork by local artist Abby Diamond. L to R: Kathabela Wilson, Maja Trochimczyk, Marlene Hitt.

California Quarterly cover by Abby Diamond

Poets with the Lullaby of Teeth anthology. L to R: Maja Trochimczyk, Eric Morago, Charles Harper Webb, Armine  Iknadossian, Bill Cushing and Dorothy Skiles.

An important event for all of Village Poets was the presentation of Pushcart Prize nominees by the editors of the Altadena Poetry Review 2017. We are proud to announce that Dorothy Skiles was one of the six Pushcart Prize Nominees – 2017 from the Altadena Poetry Review,  for her poem, “Yesterday’s Roses.”  The presentation and celebration was held on April 16, 2018 at the Altadena Library.

On Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. the Monthly Reading presented Andrew Robert Peterson, a poet of many hats and creative hands, as well as singer songwriter Art Stucco with percussionist John Palmer.   

A. Peterson, John Palmer, and Art Stucco at the Reading, some in their new hats. 

The reading was also notable because so many poets wore hats! 

Also in April, some Village Poets participated in the annual Poetry and Cookies event at the Altadena Library for the presentation of the 2018 Altadena Poetry Review.

Beverly M. Collins, Dorothy Skiles, Marlene Hitt, Pamela Shea, and Maja Trochimczyk. The artwork behind them is by another regular at the readings, Toti O'Brien.

Meanwhile, Maja enjoyed her rose photographs being presented at the Hellada Gallery in Long Beach, as part of an exhibition "California Blooming" curated by Mark Dzida for the months of March and April.

On May 27, 2018, we had a poetic encounter with Seven Dhar, and an art presentation by Abby Diamond.

Seven Dhar with Maja Trochimczyk and Abby Diamond

Abby Diamond's torn paper mosaic created especially for Moonrise Press.

The featured poet on June 24, 2018 was poet and actress Christine Jordan 

July was very busy. First the Village Poets rode in the 2018 Independence Day parade, featuring Poet Laureate Pamela Shea as Statue of Liberty, with a beautiful torch she made. Maja gave away Pam's poetry bookmarks, her own poem Independence Day, and America the Beautiful cards, while Joe was driving and Dorothy waving away...

Pamela Shea as Statue of Liberty, with her handmade torch.

Independence Day poem by Maja Trochimczyk

Joe DeCenzo as our driver, and DJ of patriotic music.

Then three weeks later, on July 22, Charles Harmon and Mira Mataric presented their poems to the delight of their audience. Mira Mataric and Charles Harmon. They both find humor an inspiration in daily life and relationship adventures, so there was lots to laugh about and be touched by.

Joe DeCenzo showed of his skills as an MC.

Mira Mataric, Charles Harmon, Kathabela and Rick Wilson.

August was the month of tanka. On August 26, 2018, Kathabela Wilson and the Art of Tanka presented the ancient Japanese art form in its modern American reiterations. With music, art presentation, and even a mini writing workshop. So much information in such a short time! Amazing! 

Rick Wilson accompanied Mira Mataric and other poets on shakuhachi.

Taura Scott and Dalton Perry read with Rick Wilson as well. 

On September 23, 2018, we welcomed backed Margaret Saine with her new book, Gardens of the Earth: According to Nature, just published by Moonrise Press, and with a young Cuban poet, Eliecer Almaguer.  This reading was bilingual with some of Eliecer's poems translated into English by Margaret.

Eliecer Almaguer and Margaret Saine with their summer bouquets.

Kathabela Wilson made drawings of poets in her notebook

Gardens of the Earth. Cover Photo by Margaret Saine.

Village Poets with guests. 

On October 5, 2018, we celebrated the Gathering of California Poets Laureate, with workshops and a massive reading in the afternoon, convened by California poet laureate Dana Gioia at the McGroarty Arts Center, narrated by Joe DeCenzo who played the role of the Master of Ceremonies at this monumental event, and attended by all Poets Laureate from the Village Poets group active at present. The event was funded by the California Arts Council and made possible by Connie Post who keeps current list of all Poets Laureate in the state of California. Over sixty poets attended, all Village Poets who are current or former Poets Laureate of Sunland Tujunga read their work. 

Dorothy Skiles reads at the Gathering.

Maja Trochimczyk presented a copy of "Grateful Conversations"
to Dana Gioia.

On October 28, 2018,  Village Poets Reading at Bolton Hall Museum was dedicated to the diverse humorous and touching poetry of Radomir Luza and Gloria Casey

On  November 16, 2018, Village Poets participated in the Open Mic Night at The Back Door Bakery Cafe, hosted by Pamela Shea and Joe DeCenzo.

Finally, November 25, 2018 brought the culmination of the season with the event that was both best attended and most impressive, in terms of poetic richness and intensity of emotion.  Krak Poetry Group celebrated 100th Years of Poland's Regained Independence, with Maja Trochimczyk , Konrad Tademar Wilk, and Andrew Kolo (as well as poems by Elzbieta Liebel who died in 2016). The second feature consisted of three poets from the "Grateful Conversations" Anthology (Susan Rogers, Sonya Sabanac, and Maja Trochimczyk). A much needed respite from so much poetry provided solo interludes by Mark Achuff, classical guitar.
This reading even had a poster made by Prof. Leonard Konopelski of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, ample red and white decorations in the colors of the Polish flag, and a handout with sample poems and poets' bios.

L to R: Andrew Kolo, Maja Trochimczyk, Konrad Tademar Wilk and Mark Achuff

Maja Trochimczyk reads.

Konrad Tademar reads.

Sonya Sabanac reads from Grateful Conversations. 

Susan Rogers, Sonya Sabanac and Maja Trochimczyk with Grateful Conversations.

Display of books by Moonrise Press with Krak Poetry Group flyers.

Maja Trochimczyk and Susan Rogers

Finally, in December, Moonrise Press published Lloyd Hitt's collection of poetry, The Earth Time, edited by Marlene Hitt, with a cover based on his photograph of his hillside driveway with California poppies on the side. This selection from a life-time of poetry writing is an impressive portrait of a accomplished, successful and wise man, one of the key members of the Village Poets. 


Here's a list of 2018 Poetry Events and Readings by Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga, Pamela Shea:
  • January: Two poems selected for publication by California State Poetry Society’s California Quarterly 44 No. 1
  • February: One poem selected for publication in The Altadena Review 2018 Anthology
  • March 3:  Reading at Sunland-Tujunga Branch Library, Dr. Seuss’s 114th Birthday Party
  • March 31: Reading at Festival of Talents, Pasadena Senior Center, special guest Miodrog Jakaic
  • April 2:  Online on Village Poets website, posted Update of Events, with poems Spring 2018 & Dr. Seuss poems,
  • April 29: Altadena Main Library, 16th Annual Poetry & Cookies Reading Event, read "Trains"
  • May 3" Reading at Joselito’s Restaurant, Relay For Life Fundraising event by The Painter in You, Dream-Catcher, Relay, and other poems
  • May 5-6: Two readings at Clark Magnet School, Foothills Relay For Life, with poem Luminaria & closing
  • May 18-19: Reading at A Concert of Music & Dance, California Contemporary Ballet and Windsong Players Chamber Ensemble, choreographed dance to poem Wash Wonderland 
  • May 31: Village Poets website, poem Wash Wonderland,
  • June 2:Submission to Can We Get Your Autograph? project sponsored by the LibraryFoundation of Los Angeles (Sunland-Tujunga Branch selected as one of 19 participating libraries out of 73 total in the city), Poetry
  • June 9: Reading at McGroarty Arts Center, 15th Annual Ceramics Juried Open Exhibition, poem written and read for event, In Memorium for Michelle Barone. Just California by  John Steven McGroarty co-read with Joe DeCenzo
  • July 4: Riding in Village Poets entry in the Sunland-Tujunga 4th of July parade as Statue of Liberty
  • July 8-13: Drawing Inspiration from the Parks - participant in Sequoia National Park's poetry workshop with John Brantingham.
  • July 26: Online publication on Village Poets blog, poem 2018 Fourth of July
  • September 24, Online publication on Village Poets blog, Summer of Adventure 
  • September 25: Reading at meeting of SHPOA (Shadow Hills Property Owners Association), poem "Our Fabulous Foothills"
  • October 6: Gathering of California’s Poets Laureate event at McGroarty Arts Center, reading the poem "Oaks"
  • October 18: published article in Crescenta Valley Weekly newspaper, Vol. 10, No. 8, article in Between Friends section, “Local Gathering of California’s Poets Laureate”
  • October 22: Reading at Verdugo Hills YMCA, Chili Cook-Off, poems Chili, Carried Away by Cornbread
  • November 16:  Reading at The Backdoor Bakery, “Village Poets Present” reading featuring Sunland-Tujunga Poets Laureate and open reading
  • December 10:  Reading at Verdugo Hills YMCA, Holiday Potluck, Holiday Poem 2018
  • December 10: Reading at The Elks Lodge, Hanukkah in the Foothills, Shared Celebrations
  • December 15: Reading at Sunland-Tujunga Branch Library Winter Reading Club Kick-Off, two poems read
Pam Shea in Sequoia National Park.


In 2019, Village Poets will  meet on the following dates:

  • January 27 - Gabriel Meyer and Elena Karina Byrne
  • February 24 - Toti O'Brien and Marty Fitzpatrick
  • March 24 - Mandy Kahn
  • April 28
  • May 26
  • June 23
  • July 28
  • August 25
  • September 22
  • October 27
  • November 24

Visit this site for current information! 

Happy New Year 2019!